‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
And Mary remained with her for about three months and then returned to her home.
Throughout Advent we reflect on the Nativity; many will have been involved in Nativity plays with children over the last few weeks, whether it be directly in church or school, or, indirectly, as someone who has been to watch children perform. Often in these plays Mary is presented as meek and mild, yet, if we are honest with ourselves, that isn’t who Mary is.
Mary is bold and courageous, Mary breaks socials norms and protocols. Mary’s song can be seen as an act of resistance, a song that has confidence in God’s promise to turn the world upside-down by overthrowing the powerful and raising up the oppressed. Mary is an agent of liberation, one who sings in hope. Recognising her own dark and difficult situation Mary knows that God promises to bring her (and us) through to the other side. Mary sings not of the work God will do, but of the work God has done, and is doing, to save, liberate and reconcile humanity to each other and to God’s own self.
In Eastern Christianity Mary’s song is called the Ode of the Theotokos (God-bearer often translated as Mother of God.) The title reminds us that God and Mary both made radical choices, God in choosing incarnation and Mary in saying “yes” to God. We could do well to remember that this was the beginning of a revolution that still ripples through the world today.
So I dare you, in the coming days as we move closer to celebrating the birth of Christ, to remember the not-so-meek-and-mild but still grace-filled Mother of God, Mary. Remember how her act of courage and conviction demonstrates the power of God and the ever renewing work of liberation to which we are called to be a part of and party to.
Radical God, Mary’s song of your mercy and love resounds in our ears. Enable us to not only hear that song of hope and redemption for ourselves, but also be your agents of liberation in the world today for others. At this time we remember the light, hope and joy that came into the world in the person of Jesus and spur us to share that with all we meet in action and love. Amen.
Kirsty-Ann Mabbott, Church Related Community Worker